Startup MGZN

Seedstars kicks off in Iraq for the first time, here’s what went down

On August 1 & 2, Seedstars World, the largest startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes landed for the first time in Baghdad. Around 20 of Iraq’s best seed-stage startups competed to represent the country at the Seedstars Summit for a chance to win up to USD 500,000 in equity investments and other prizes.

Seedstars held a dynamic training for entrepreneurs on the first day of the event which covered topics around Investment Readiness, the Art of the Pitch, in addition to tailored mentorship sessions with experts from the market. The list of experts included Ali Ismail, Co-founder & Curator at Fikraspace Solo Creative Studio, Montather Rassoul, Consultant, Council of the European Union, and Ammar Rafid, Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility Senior Officer at Zain Iraq.

After a careful screening and training on Day 1, the Seedstars team shortlisted around ten of the best seed-stage startups in Iraq to pitch on August 2 for the opportunity to compete at the Seedstars Summit, that annually takes place in Switzerland. The list of the Jury members included Ali Hili, Youth and Entrepreneurship at Zain Iraq, Bassem Abdel Hadi Hassan, Spokesperson for the Central Bank, Noor Alhandal, Chairman at Ashur International Bank, Khaled Alabadi, Project Manager at GE, Dhafer Hasan, Programme Analyst at UNDP and Anas Al-Chalabi, Business Development Manager at Social n’ Tech.

A lot of partners have supported Seedstars at making this event happen. The Main Partners of the Event are Central Bank of Iraq continue to position themselves as great believers in the impact of entrepreneurship. The Local Partners of the event are The Station and Social N’ Tech. Further support is provided by Careem, one of the regions most successful startups, as Entrepreneurship Partners.

In order to provide local entrepreneurs with this opportunity and aiming to deliver the best possible event, Seedstars is closely working with Mohammad Salah, who is representing the initiative throughout the year. “As the Seedstars ambassadors in Baghdad, we’re more than proud to host the competition in Iraq; This event will be a massive networking and funding opportunity to the finalists. Bringing Seedstars to Iraq will open the door for other global incubators, accelerators, and competitions by encouraging them to expand to Iraq. we are here to make a difference, to create opportunities and give exposure to the ecosystem” explains Mohamad Salah, Managing Director at Social N Tech. 

“At Seedstars, we believe talent and good ideas are everywhere. We see ourselves as a platform connecting investors to the next generation of startup entrepreneurs in places where normally people wouldn’t think startup ecosystem have such traction, growth, and buzz. We are very excited to be in Baghdad, highlighting such a bustling entrepreneurship ecosystem and we are here to witness the reality”, explains Mira Charkawi, Community Events Manager at Seedstars, “We are also experts in identifying which are the ones to pull through and how. We’re impressed by what we have seen in the region so far and cannot wait to add startups from Iraq on our map.”

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